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Rep. Cannon Ousted in Utah GOP Primary

Veteran Rep. Chris Cannon won't be serving a seventh term in the House, after voters decisively ousted him Tuesday in Utah's Republican primary.

Jason Chaffetz
, the former chief of staff to Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. (R), beat Cannon by 20 points after a hard-fought campaign during which Chaffetz nearly managed to keep Cannon off the primary ballot altogether at the state GOP convention. Chaffetz will now be heavily favored in November against Democrat Bennion Spencer, as the 3rd district, which stretches southwest of Salt Lake City, is one of the most strongly Republican seats in the country.

Cannon is the third House incumbent to lose a reelection race in the primary this year, following the defeats of Maryland Reps. Al Wynn (D) and Wayne Gilchrest (R) in February.

While Chaffetz's victory could be taken as another sign that a desire for "change" is sweeping the electoral landscape, Cannon has long been on shaky ground in Utah. He also faced tough primaries in 2004 and 2006, largely because of his support for comprehensive immigration reform. Chaffetz similarly hit Cannon for his immigration stance, but the challenger also focused on high gas prices and broad unhappiness with Congress in his campaign.

By Ben Pershing  |  June 25, 2008; 10:50 AM ET
Categories:  2008 Campaign  
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